We are an engineering services firm that is in beta testing on software. To date we have self funded, but we are thinking about seeking investment to get us to the next level, as well as an experienced investor who can help us avoid landmines.
Since you mentioned you're raising a seed round, I strongly suggest not using an investment banker. At the seed stage, VCs are investing in you more than your business—putting a banker in the middle will do you a lot of disservice. IBs are typically used for Series B and beyond.
I also noticed that you call yourself an engineering services firm—typically services companies don't make good VC fundable businesses. If you have a product that you can spin off and raise money for, that might be more attractive. Happy to chat in more detail about the fundraising process if you wish.
There are so many ways to generate funds.
I can't imagine people looking for bank funds these days.
I can think of likely a dozen ways off the top of my head.
Here's just one.
1) Open a Credit Karma account.
2) Follow their directions for boosting to 800+ credit score.
Note: I just did this. Took 60 days to go from 647 to 800+.
3) At this point, acquire business cards (they don't show up on your personal credit score), focusing on cards providing balance transfers at $0 initial fee + 0% interest for 15-18+ months.
4) After you apply for 2x cards (which you'll get easily), then keep applying for cards until your Credit Karma account shows 2x "hard inquiries". Once these show up, check Credit Karma account every month, till 1x hard inquiries disappear.
5) Then continue #4 over + over, till you have however many $1,000,000s in credit you require for self funding.
This is way better than messing with banks or other capital sources, as you're in 100% control + you keep 100% of your company.
You're welcome to book a call for other capital generation suggestions.
No sure anyone can properly answer this without first getting more information - as the famous investor quote goes: "I trust in GOD, all the rest need to show data"
Anyway, assuming you've validated your idea, and know how to give a great pitch, then of course investors will take you seriously. You just need to come very prepared (with your numbers, background research on investors, how much you want & in exchange for what* etc).
* It's not enough to know that you want $200K for 10% (for example). You need to prepare in advance for alternative numbers and be able to think fast. For example: if they offer $230k for 12% - is this better or worse (you have 30 seconds - and this is an easy one)?
I've successfully helped over 300 entrepreneurs, and would be happy to help you with the validation (if not done yet), the pitch deck and the pitch itself.
Well done for creating a startup. Good luck and enjoy the ride.
Good question. I agree with several others that you should not use an investment banker to raise seed money.
Have you done any market/customer validation of your software. This is really important before you start raising money from outside investors. Investors will ask.
I am working with other start-ups (including my own) on how to raise money without bringing in outside investors. The best case scenario is talk potential customers to do a proof-of-concept, feasibility project.
I am happy to talk through the various options with you if you set-up a call.
In agreement with others, you should not get an IB involved at this stage. Seed investors (or super angels - since you did not say how much you are raising) are sensitive to fees being spent from the proceeds. They want everything possible going into the business, not 3rd party pockets.
However, you should also think about the process differently. You need to focus your presentation on getting meetings, not the investment first. You will learn more in the meetings that will improve your story and fundability.
As others have mentioned, you need to have market validation that your product is interesting. Smart investors (versus the legendary "dumb money") that you seek to assist the company with more than just capital will want to see team, technology, and traction.
It sounds as though your company is pre-revenue so I'm not sure what value you are offering an investor, even at seed stage. As for composing your company summary, it is imperative that you learn how to present your company to investors. You would be better served by creating a small group of experienced advisors to assist with benchmark challenges, strategy and investment prep.